Rhinolophus euryale (Blasius 1853) Mediterranean Horseshoe Bat
Hebrew name: פרסף בהיר, parsaf bahir
Global Threat: VU (A2c) – Vulnerable
Regional Threat: CR (C) – Critically Endangered
Distribution area: Is known from only three caves in the Upper Galilee. The population in Europe is small due to disturbances to roosting and wintering caves.
Historic distribution: It is difficult to identify and differentiate the medium-sized horseshoe bats, which raises doubts about past data relating to Mediterranean, Blasius’ and Mehely’s horseshoe bats. In the 1940s Dor reported dozens of individuals in the Herzliyya Cave (breeding colony), and a Mediterranean distribution from Rosh HaNiqra and the Hula Valley south to Jerusalem and the lowlands (in Makin 1977). Not a single bat was found in the insectivorous bat survey conducted by Makin (1977) in the 1970s, and the species is presumably extinct.
Typical Habitat: Deep caves.
Threat and Disturbance Factors:
1. Insecticide use in agricultural areas.
2. Human visitors to roosting and wintering caves.
Factors that led to population reduction in the past:
1. In the 1940s and 1950s: bat collection by scientists.
2. From the 1960s to the mid-80s: poisoning by activity to eliminate fruit bats in shared caves.
Population Size: Less than 200 in the three caves where the species is known from.
Fluctuations in Population Size: The population apparently decreased significantly during the 1950s and 1960s.
Isolation between Subpopulations: Unknown.
Necessary Steps for Species Preservation:
1. Reducing insecticide use.
2. Protect roosting and wintering caves.